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Kristjan Runarsson





Joined: 07 Nov 2015

Posts: 109

PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan, 2016 4:05 am    Post subject: About sword scabbard components         Reply with quote

HI,
I'm building my own scabbard for a sword that I just acquired by following Ye Olde Gaffers excellent tutorial but I'm having a hard time finding some components which I'm blaming on the fact that I'm not sure of the correct terminology. I know that the pointy piece at the bottom end is called a 'chape' ... but:

What is the proper name of the loop on the side of some early medieval scabbards and where can I buy one?
Example: http://farm8.static.flickr.com/7151/6845745775_4892c0c7cb.jpg
I've seen this called a 'slider' are there other names for it? I don't get many hits when I search for 'scabbard slider'.

What is the proper name of the me metal cap at the top end of the sabbard that the sword slides through?
Example: http://www.marchandmedieval.com/medieval/638-...-style.jpg
Seen this called a 'scabbard locket' but once again I don't get many hits on that and nobody that sells them except for ones that are quite expensive.

Does anybody know of good places to get scabbard components, i.e. chapes, lockets and sliders that don't cost a fortune?
Marchand Medieval and Viking Sheild used to have this stuff but they are all sold out.
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Jeffrey Faulk




Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan, 2016 10:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello,

--It's very typical that scabbard sliders are made by whoever makes the scabbard. I haven't seen any for sale anywhere, though occasionally some craftsman will knock one up to spec. You could look up whittlers or other hobby craftsmen on Etsy or some such website and see if they're willing to do one for you.

Sliders are more of a Dark Age/Migration Period thing than medieval, IMO. They're OK for Viking swords from what I recall, but for medieval swords they would definitely be very anachronistic.

You could possibly jury-rig a drawer handle as a slider if you found one you like well enough; I've actually considered this myself.

--The bit that goes around the top of the scabbard is usually called a 'throat' or 'locket'. And no, not many people make them. Thankfully if you have any experience with working sheet metal, they should not be terribly difficult to knock up. But do check that they're period appropriate, though of course you can do as you like Happy

There is one source in the UK that you could check out-- Tod's Foundry, run by Leo Todeschini.

http://www.todsstuff.co.uk/todsfoundry/scabbard-fittings.htm

Frankly sword fittings are an extremely niche thing. A lot of people will simply scavenge the scabbards of cheaper swords for their fittings or make their own. Some people-- not many-- are starting to expand into 3D design and printing in order to provide these, but it's a bit of a toss-up at the moment.

Mind you... these aren't cheap... but they're high quality and well made. No lockets there from what I can see, though, unfortunately.
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan, 2016 12:13 pm    Post subject: Re: About sword scabbard components         Reply with quote

Kristjan Runarsson wrote:
What is the proper name of the loop on the side of some early medieval scabbards and where can I buy one?
Example: http://farm8.static.flickr.com/7151/6845745775_4892c0c7cb.jpg
I've seen this called a 'slider' are there other names for it? I don't get many hits when I search for 'scabbard slider'.


I've seen these called a "bridge" or "strap bridge". The most common name is "scabbard slide" (without the final "r"), and Chinese and Central Asian examples will almost always be called that. (Scabbard slides were used very widely, from China through to Ireland.) It used to be easy to find replica Chinese-style ones on ebay (and this kind were used a long way west of China). For a wooden one, just make one yourself. Most of the Migration/Viking ones I've seen on replica scabbards have been wooden.

The most recent ones I've seen are 20th century, from the Philippines. Carved as an integral part of a wooden scabbard.

(Sometimes I see them put on the wrong side (i.e., the side against the body) of the scabbard on replicas. They don't work as well on the wrong side.)

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Kristjan Runarsson





Joined: 07 Nov 2015

Posts: 109

PostPosted: Fri 22 Jan, 2016 8:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeffrey Faulk wrote:
Hello,

--It's very typical that scabbard sliders are made by whoever makes the scabbard. I haven't seen any for sale anywhere, though occasionally some craftsman will knock one up to spec. You could look up whittlers or other hobby craftsmen on Etsy or some such website and see if they're willing to do one for you.

Sliders are more of a Dark Age/Migration Period thing than medieval, IMO. They're OK for Viking swords from what I recall, but for medieval swords they would definitely be very anachronistic.

You could possibly jury-rig a drawer handle as a slider if you found one you like well enough; I've actually considered this myself.

--The bit that goes around the top of the scabbard is usually called a 'throat' or 'locket'. And no, not many people make them. Thankfully if you have any experience with working sheet metal, they should not be terribly difficult to knock up. But do check that they're period appropriate, though of course you can do as you like Happy

There is one source in the UK that you could check out-- Tod's Foundry, run by Leo Todeschini.

http://www.todsstuff.co.uk/todsfoundry/scabbard-fittings.htm

Frankly sword fittings are an extremely niche thing. A lot of people will simply scavenge the scabbards of cheaper swords for their fittings or make their own. Some people-- not many-- are starting to expand into 3D design and printing in order to provide these, but it's a bit of a toss-up at the moment.

Mind you... these aren't cheap... but they're high quality and well made. No lockets there from what I can see, though, unfortunately.


I've pullted all the tricks I can think of and no matter where I look these fittings are crazy expensive. I think I'm going to get a plain silver colored chape and make the locket out of some hardwood like maybe a nice piece of walnut. Or just screw a polished steel plate to the mouth of the scabbard.

I'm kind of gone off the idea of a scabbard slide. I prefer some simple method of mounting the scabbard, like this for example:
https://myArmoury.com/talk/files/buckl03_623.jpg
Simple, does not dangle about too much, points slightly backwards and it's easy to fix.
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Jeffrey Faulk




Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Fri 22 Jan, 2016 1:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A locket is really a variable thing. They are period appropriate for some times, but in general they're a high-end product and you would not see them used on the vast majority of scabbards. A rain-guard on the sword hilt is perhaps another matter though.

Slides, as mentioned, are an anachronism for medieval swords. So I'm perfectly fine with you going some other way (as it is, of course, your sword). There are a number of different ways to hang a medieval sword:

--First one would be that the belt is split into thongs and laced through slits in the leather of the scabbard in a variety of ways. This is the oldest method as far as I know for a medieval scabbard but I could be wrong. Think Norman conquest, first few Crusades, and so forth, that general time period. Lots of chain-maille.

--Second, the belt is fastened to the scabbard at two places; the 'front' of the belt is at the top and the 'back' comes around to just under that, to make for a tilt. That would be similar to what you have illustrated. This is more of a War of the Roses, "mid-Middle Ages" type scabbard. Very typical for partial or early plate armour.

--As a 2.b, another suspension method from this time period would use a scabbard locket with small rings on the side, and straps running to eyelets or slides on the belt. This gives the sword a very vertical hang, and as such is best with shorter blades, but if you wear your belt particularly high (think at the bottom of your rib-cage) you could get away with a longer sword. Drawing it might be awkward, though.

--Thirdly, thongs are laced about the scabbard and buckled to either the belt itself or straps depending from the belt. This is somewhat of a late period fashion, but works well especially for longer swords. More of an early Renaissance thing really. There is certainly provenance for this, notably the statues of Colleoni and Gattametala. It's become very common in the modern context though as it's attractive and less labor-intensive. It's one of Valiant Armoury's favorite methods, for example.

There are of course a profusion of different hanging methods once you get into the Renaissance, but most of them are variations of buckled straps hanging from a belt or shoulder strap. One important thing to bear in mind with medieval wear is that most of them depend upon a waist-line that was much higher than what was customary in the modern era or the Renaissance, between the navel and the bottom of the ribcage. As such a longer sword could be worn with more ease.
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Kristjan Runarsson





Joined: 07 Nov 2015

Posts: 109

PostPosted: Sun 24 Jan, 2016 2:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeffrey Faulk wrote:
A locket is really a variable thing. They are period appropriate for some times, but in general they're a high-end product and you would not see them used on the vast majority of scabbards. A rain-guard on the sword hilt is perhaps another matter though.

Slides, as mentioned, are an anachronism for medieval swords. So I'm perfectly fine with you going some other way (as it is, of course, your sword). There are a number of different ways to hang a medieval sword:

--First one would be that the belt is split into thongs and laced through slits in the leather of the scabbard in a variety of ways. This is the oldest method as far as I know for a medieval scabbard but I could be wrong. Think Norman conquest, first few Crusades, and so forth, that general time period. Lots of chain-maille.

--Second, the belt is fastened to the scabbard at two places; the 'front' of the belt is at the top and the 'back' comes around to just under that, to make for a tilt. That would be similar to what you have illustrated. This is more of a War of the Roses, "mid-Middle Ages" type scabbard. Very typical for partial or early plate armour.

--As a 2.b, another suspension method from this time period would use a scabbard locket with small rings on the side, and straps running to eyelets or slides on the belt. This gives the sword a very vertical hang, and as such is best with shorter blades, but if you wear your belt particularly high (think at the bottom of your rib-cage) you could get away with a longer sword. Drawing it might be awkward, though.

--Thirdly, thongs are laced about the scabbard and buckled to either the belt itself or straps depending from the belt. This is somewhat of a late period fashion, but works well especially for longer swords. More of an early Renaissance thing really. There is certainly provenance for this, notably the statues of Colleoni and Gattametala. It's become very common in the modern context though as it's attractive and less labor-intensive. It's one of Valiant Armoury's favorite methods, for example.

There are of course a profusion of different hanging methods once you get into the Renaissance, but most of them are variations of buckled straps hanging from a belt or shoulder strap. One important thing to bear in mind with medieval wear is that most of them depend upon a waist-line that was much higher than what was customary in the modern era or the Renaissance, between the navel and the bottom of the ribcage. As such a longer sword could be worn with more ease.


The reason I like the simpler two-part-belt scabbard mounting even if it may not be correct for 9th-13th century (the period I'm aiming at is mostly the Viking age) is that I've been thinking about making a bare wood scabbard without a leather covering from some nice looking hardwood like walnut. I'm not sure about how many surviving non-leather covered wooden scabbards there are on the archeological record but I see no reason why a scabbard has to be leather covered. One can create quite nice looking scabbards from a good piece of properly worked and weather proofed wood and I see no reason why the Vikings might not have done that too.

I could also live with this kind of suspension:
https://myArmoury.com/talk/download.php?id=17502
or this:
https://myArmoury.com/talk/download.php?id=17501
Which seems to be more period correct but that requires more metal fittings which are expensive. Also, I want my suspension system to be simple and the one Gaffer used is quite frankly overly complicated for my taste. I like simple and elegant designs.

On another note I have found a guy who sells scabbard fittings at a reasonable price in case anybody else is looking for some:
http://www.re-enactment.com/index.php?main_pa...p;cPath=58
He says he'll electro-plate any of these objects in a silver-like metal for an extra fee. Not exactly cheap but the prices are way lower than the 50+ chapes I've been seeing.
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

Posts: 325

PostPosted: Sun 24 Jan, 2016 4:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kristjan Runarsson wrote:

The reason I like the simpler two-part-belt scabbard mounting even if it may not be correct for 9th-13th century (the period I'm aiming at is mostly the Viking age) is that I've been thinking about making a bare wood scabbard without a leather covering from some nice looking hardwood like walnut. I'm not sure about how many surviving non-leather covered wooden scabbards there are on the archeological record but I see no reason why a scabbard has to be leather covered. One can create quite nice looking scabbards from a good piece of properly worked and weather proofed wood and I see no reason why the Vikings might not have done that too.


I agree that a wooden scabbard could be quite beautiful but it won't be nearly as strong as a leather or fabric covered scabbard.
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Kristjan Runarsson





Joined: 07 Nov 2015

Posts: 109

PostPosted: Sun 24 Jan, 2016 4:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Ruhala wrote:

I agree that a wooden scabbard could be quite beautiful but it won't be nearly as strong as a leather or fabric covered scabbard.


Why? most leather covered scabbard designs I have seen are made of plywood and the leather isn't even glued on. Gluing fabric onto plywood adds strength since plywood is basically made of soft woods but I don't see why either a leather of fabric covered scabbard would be way stronger than a hardwood scabbard. Either way, I suppose I'll find out soon.
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

Posts: 325

PostPosted: Sun 24 Jan, 2016 5:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kristjan Runarsson wrote:

Why? most leather covered scabbard designs I have seen are made of plywood and the leather isn't even glued on. Gluing fabric onto plywood adds strength since plywood is basically made of soft woods but I don't see why either a leather of fabric covered scabbard would be way stronger than a hardwood scabbard. Either way, I suppose I'll find out soon.


I think it comes down to two things, a glued on covering distributes force across the surface of the wood *somehow* and the covering will help hold the pieces together when the wood does eventually break. I did some experiments with scraps when I made a round shield a while back and it was startling how much stronger a little glue and light linen makes a piece of thin pine.

Give it a shot though, it could turn out really beautiful and unless you abuse it you'll probably never notice a difference in durability. I'd love to see pics when it is done!
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Mon 25 Jan, 2016 3:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kristjan Runarsson wrote:
Mike Ruhala wrote:

I agree that a wooden scabbard could be quite beautiful but it won't be nearly as strong as a leather or fabric covered scabbard.


Why? most leather covered scabbard designs I have seen are made of plywood and the leather isn't even glued on. Gluing fabric onto plywood adds strength since plywood is basically made of soft woods but I don't see why either a leather of fabric covered scabbard would be way stronger than a hardwood scabbard. Either way, I suppose I'll find out soon.


Wood splits. Something wrapped closely around it can stop it from moving far enough to actually split.

Un-covered wooden scabbards are common enough. Lots of Indonesian and Philippine scabbards like that. They split; I have quite a few antique scabbards of that type that are split. (I have old leather-covered scabbards - kukri scabbards - where the two halves have separated, but usually the individual pieces of wood are still intact.)

Plywood is a different story - plywood is split-resistant.

A thick (and therefore heavy) hardwood scabbard can be quite strong, if it's made from a wood that's resistant to splitting (some hardwoods split easily). A covered scabbard can give similar resistance against splitting with much thinner wood, and be much lighter. The hardwood scabbard will be stiffer, and more resistant to breaking through being bent.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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